No coding? No problem! Just tell your plans on starting an application and Proteus has got you!
With technology continuously advancing, it can get quite hard to keep up with new updates especially if you are interested in developing something for your company. As far as we know, many in demand technology includes coding. While the students in Singapore are progressively learning more about it, one such company has been able to crack the code of simplifying developing without using coding.
Proteus is a no code development firm which is able to provide software and IT solutions to their clients without coding. What sets them apart from other companies is their ability to set up really quickly without going through the tedious and long process of coding with lesser people and skill set needed.
Founder of Proteus, Ben Teo
Proteus was originally a design company. Ben Teo, the founder, first came up with this idea while he was in Polytechnic. With the intention of earning some extra pocket money, Ben started as the salesman along with 8 other friends who helped to design things such as logos, website among others. This proved successful to them as they saw the demand increase, whereby clients started asking them if they could do more than designing website like a loyalty programme for members to sign up which transformed into a web application.
As they tried to code their own web application, they were unable to do so as the competition with their competitors. Upon stumbling across a no code programme which gave them an advantage over their competitors from the neighbouring countries.
With that, let’s dive into getting to know more about Ben!
We noticed that you started Proteus while you were doing your internship, how was that like?
During my internship I was very lucky to have the support of the company I was working at. They were very transparent about it and ok with me starting a side hustle! My classmates and I started this during our Final Year Project (FYP) and internship which went very well and hence we decided to progress.
Why did you think there was a need to start Proteus?
We identified that development was always in demand whereby there was always going to be a need for software. However, dealing with foreign companies was a problem for locals which included the varying time zones, language barriers, cultural differences and many more. This hindered the productivity level of these companies. At Proteus, we try to hire locals except for foreign interns to manage this issue so that we can continue to move forward.
Photo source: via Proteus' Facebook
Could you share with us more about the other companies you are handling?
I have 4 companies that I handle in total. Proteus is the main company meanwhile I have my other companies like YelloCo, GS Bodyworks and Proteus media. Proteus media is one of my businesses that I handle where it is a spinoff of Proteus that manages the marketing, branding, design and others. It was founded in 2021 and focuses mainly on investment companies. YelloCo is a tech-based storage company that does mobile storage whereby their application was developed by Proteus to manage the algorithms and others. Meanwhile, GS Bodyworks is an automotive car body kit company that does repairs and replacement. This is managed mainly by my business partner while I’m an investor.
Throughout the years of doing all these businesses, did you have any setbacks that you faced?
I think for now, the biggest trouble I have is scaling my company. Hiring has been challenging as we look out for the best while ensuring it meets our budget. We also need to be ethical since daily expenses are rising and it’s normal for people to expect a higher salary. Previously at the start, the transition between coding to no-coding was hard as we didn’t know much about no code. It was not as prominent before which lacked resources, forum, instructions and etc. I had to take initiative in terms of communicating with the founder of the platform. Funding was equally demanding since I had to use my own pocket money.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I hold very dearly to those people who trusted me on this journey. I want to give my best to my employees or even my partners that trusted me. So quitting is definitely not an option. Even now, I have employees that are planning to settle down. Hence their rice bowl is really important to me because it's not just theirs anymore, but it's including their families. So I ensure that I take many calculated risks and ensure I’m making the right decisions for people who have trusted me with their lives.
What’s your take on the entrepreneurial scene in Singapore?
As Singaporeans we do not have the luxury as compared to foreigners who are able to live their dreams or sell their houses to get the money to start businesses. In my opinion, locals try to play safer and take calculated risks, so the entrepreneurial scene here is not very vibrant. However, in recent times, the government has been contributing a huge amount into entrepreneurship especially in terms of funding where I believe Singapore is one of the most well-funded towards start-ups in current times. Entrepreneurship has definitely been evolving over times and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for everyone.
Can you share with us an unforgettable moment you’ve experienced before?
The very first paycheck I issued was an emotional moment for me. It was all the money I had left in my bank account which I had drafted four days in advance actually! I was contemplating if I should hold it back and started thinking if the project, I was working on was worth it. Nonetheless, because of the trust I had with my designer and friends, I knew it was going to work which eventually brought Proteus to the next level. The pandemic was also an unforgettable time for us. We lost our larger projects and our revenue dropped by 90%. Many of our customers were unable to pay us which led me to take the decision of laying off everyone else except me and one other developer. It was something I hated to do but I had to take the decision to do so in order to keep the company afloat.
One advice you would like to share with budding entrepreneurs?
At this current stage, I believe it is important to hold on to being disciplined. While it may be the most cliché thing to say, you need to have discipline regardless of your position in the company. While your burning passion and inspiration may fuel you for the time being, I believe that discipline is what keeps you going in the long run.